Blog Archives

Peeking Behind the Myth

Here’s one of the 10-minute exercises from a writing workshop I just did for the Knoxville Writers Guild on using real people in fiction or memoir. In this exercise, we looked at making a more rounded vision of a historical

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Posted in Writing

Can you blame Helen (of Troy)?

It’s good thing for this country that the Puritans never quite figured out how to combine a theology of predestination with an ethical system. And it’s a very good thing for novelists. Free will makes plots much more interesting than

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Posted in Writing

Life gives writing prompt

The other day I was crossing the parking lot of the Knoxville Museum of Art when a young man got out of a dusty van wearing a full length tie-dyed robe. Time warp to the Sixties? He seemed to be

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Posted in Writing

What’s your excuse?

“Writer’s block” adds a lovely sense of entitlement and specialness to the malaise. After all, nobody sanctions “pediatrician’s block” or “fireman’s block,” as in: “You know, I just don’t feel like taking care of your kid, or putting out your

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Onions & the Cost of Fiction

Some years ago, I came across a recipe for onion flowers, saw therein a metaphor for the cost of writing fiction, and wrote about that. I made a simplified onion flower today and thought I’d share the original piece with

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Posted in Just life, Writing

Dangers of over-describing

At a recent literary conference, a speaker was warning of “drivers license descriptions.” That is, the character appears on the scene trailing specifics: “Tommy Lengley, 6’1″, blonde, tanned, well-built, with a faint scar on his left cheek . . .

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Putting real people in stories

In writing workshops, the question often comes up: “What about putting people I know in stories? Is that ok?” It’s an interesting question, touching on issues of decency, law, human psychology, and the nature of narratives. I don’t consciously import

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Posted in Writing

Novel writing & bridge building

At the Southern Literature Conference in Chattanooga yesterday, the wonderful novelist/short story writer, Alan Garganus, had a great analogy on novel (and I suppose short story) building. Suppose you want to build a bridge over a canyon. You throw a

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Posted in Writing

Carnivorous typewriter

All in the line of research, I found an image of this carnivorous-looking typewriter, circa 1915. Writing is difficult enough, uncertain enough, and imagine if you had to be right up close to this scary thing hour after hour. Doesn’t

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When Apple bonks writer

My agent Courtney says that her clients divide into pantsers (those who write by the seat of their pants) and planners (who ignore pants and plan). I’m a planner. By necessity. If I had to worry about plot at the

Posted in Writing
Announcements

Sunday, May 6, 2pm reading from latest work at Hexagon Brewing Company, Knoxville, TN.

Thursday, May 10, 6-8 pm presentation on research on the historical novel, Blount County Library, Maryville, TN.

When We Were Strangers, Italian translation, to be presented in Pescasseroli, Italy, August 2018.

Recent Review
“Absorbing and layered with rich historical details, in Under the Same Blue Sky, Schoenewaldt weaves a tender and at times, heartbreaking story about German-Americans during World War I. With remarkable compassion, the author skillfully portrays conflicted loyalties, the search for belonging, the cruelty of war, and the resilience of the human spirit.”—Ann Weisgarber, author of The Promise and The Personal History of Rachel Dupree

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